Archive for the ‘mountain scenery’ Category

Visit Great Smoky Mountains for fall color and terrific crafts

 

I love all parts of Tennessee but if you only have time for a color drive through one section you won’t go wrong choosing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park offers more than 800 miles of well-maintained hiking trails and wonderful fall color. (Tennessee Tourism photo)

Great Smoky Mountain National Park offers more than 800 miles of well-maintained hiking trails and wonderful fall color. (Tennessee Tourism photo)

BTW if you see bear cubs, pull to the side to take photos because “bear jams” instead of ordinary fall color “peeps” make it hard for people merely driving through the park from Nashville to get to Ashevill, NC.

Put Sugarlands Visitors Center (above Gatlinburg) into your GPS to start the color drive. It’s a short drive south of Gatlinburg on US 441.

Ask there about road closures. You should be able to continue up to Clingman’s Dome for an amazing view and a fun picture op

At 5,048 feet you can stand with one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina. The Tower is closed but the parking lot which also has great views is open.

After going back down to Gatlinburg, drive the eight-mile Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community loop on Glades and Buckhorn Roads.

The art in the studios complement the park’s natural wonders.

You are likely to return home with great photos and probably a well-turned bowl or gorgeous painting.

For more information call (865) 436-1200 or visit the park headquarters at 107 Park Headquarters Road Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

 

Rail initiative combines destinations on bucket list

Take a train west to San Francisco across impressive mountain ranges. Do a Hawaiian cruise. The two bucket-list dreams may sound like different vacations in time and space.

Travel by rail through the Rockies to enjoy the scenery instead of watching the road

Travel by rail through the Rockies to enjoy the scenery instead of watching the road

But Vacations By Rail, a Chicago-based travel company that organizes train trips to national parks and across Europe has lately been partnering with Princess Cruises so that travelers don’t have to choose between a scenic land vacation or a cruise destination.

Among the latest pairings is a two-night trip through the Colorado Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mountains to San Francisco from Chicago on the California Zephyr then on to Hawaii by cruise ship .

Travelers stay a night in the “city by the bay” then board the “Grand Princess” for a 14 night cruise to Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui and Ensenada, Mexico.  Cruising to Hawaiian ports means not having to fly to the west coast, then Honolulu and more airports to puddle-jump to different islands. After the Mexican stop, the ship returns to San Francisco.

The total trip of 19 days by train and sea can be extended. Options include returning to Chicago by Zephyr for a  22-day vacation or staying longer in San Francisco three to four days.

For more information visit Vacations By Rail  www.vacationsbyrail.com and call 877-929-7245.

Photo (C) by Jodie Jacobs

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